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CES Report: Dish Adds Sling Integration, Offline Video Transfers

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One day before its International CES 2013 Press Day conference, Dish announced an iPad app for second-screen viewing. The free Dish Explorer app lets Dish subscribers with a Hopper DVR find new shows they might like, see what shows are trending, and access Twitter and Facebook feeds all from their iPad for easy second screen viewing. Plus, the app works as a remote.

So did Dish preempt its own CES press conference?

Promising to "top the Hopper," the company's big announcement from CES 2012, company CEO Joe Clayton announced Dish Anywhere and the Hopper with Sling DVR. Using the DVR's integrated Slingbox, customers will be able to watch live, recorded, and on-demand content on mobile devices even outside the home network. The functionality works over Wi-Fi or cellular connections. Dish will announce pricing and availability for the Hopper with Sling later this month.

Clayton also announced the Hopper Transfers app that allows customers to transfer DVR recordings from the Hopper with Sling DVR to an iPad for anywhere viewing, even when offline. Videos transfer wirelessly over the home network in less than 10 minutes each.

But that's not all: Dish also announced onboard apps for the Hopper with Sling DVR that let users display contextual information, such as social network feeds, for whatever they're watching. The result is a second-screen experience right on the first screen.

The press event began with a kangaroo mascot and Clayton offering a musical mix-up of The Blues Brothers and hip-hop (don't ask). Afterwards, Clayton recapped the company's past year and its significant releases. The broadcasters are strongly against Dish's AutoHop feature, Clayton said, because it lets viewers automatically skip commercials. Dish, however, is not afraid to ruffle feathers, he insisted, whether by adding AutoHop or by dropping channels that cost too much.

Dish is building well on last year's big announcements and does indeed seem to be hopping ahead of the competition as it unites satellite and online streaming in novel ways. So what's new, DirecTV?

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